There is a pottery workshop I love in a town in Jalisco called Tlaquepaque. They make beautifully glazed plates, bowls, and platters in rich, vibrant colors. I went to visit, and Santi Padilla, the ceramicist, gave me some beautiful tableware to take back to Mazatlán with me. I told her that I wanted her to choose the first meal that I ate on her plates and she told me to make a pipián from her town. So that’s what this is—a rich sauce thickened with toasted pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and sesame seeds, flavored with allspice and cloves, and spiced from the heat of chiles anchos and chiles de árbol.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds and peanuts, tossing frequently, until very fragrant and browned in spots, for 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve about ¼ cup of toasted pepitas for serving (it’s okay if there is a peanut or two mixed in). Transfer the remaining seeds and nuts to a large heavy pot.
- In the same skillet over medium-high heat, toast the sesame seeds, tossing frequently, until fragrant and browned, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the pot with the pumpkin seeds.
- In the same skillet over medium-high heat, toast the allspice, cloves, oregano, cumin, and peppercorns, tossing frequently, until browned and fragrant, for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the pot with the pumpkin seeds.
- Line the skillet with two large sheets of foil to prevent the chiles and tomatoes from burning and sticking to the bottom of the skillet. Cook the chiles, pressing down on them with a metal spatula to make contact with the pan, until lightly toasted on both sides, for about 30 seconds total. The chiles will burn easily, so press down and turn them quickly. Transfer the toasted chiles to the pot with the pumpkin seeds.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, bolillo, and garlic and char on all sides, turning occasionally, for about 3 minutes for the bolillo (it will char quickly), about 5 minutes for the garlic, about 9 minutes for the onion, and about 16 minutes for the tomatoes. Transfer to the pot with the pepitas.
- To the pot, add the stock and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the seeds and chiles have softened and the flavors have come together, for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 20 minutes to cool slightly before blending.
- Working in batches, carefully add the cooked pumpkin seed mixture and liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer each batch to a large bowl, stirring to combine the batches of pipián each time.
- Rinse and wipe the pot clean and dry. Set the pot over medium-high and heat the lard until it’s very hot. Carefully pour the blended pipián into the hot lard (it will spit and sputter, so wearing an apron and long sleeves are a good idea). Stir, scraping up any fried bits from the bottom of the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring frequently, until the top of the pipián is glossy and thick, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the agave. Taste and season with more salt if desired.
- Serve over roasted chicken and sprinkled with the reserved toasted pepitas.